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20% spike in cases forces 6 'minors' into adult mental health unit

20% spike in cases forces 6 'minors' into adult mental health unit

Tuesday 10 August 2021

20% spike in cases forces 6 'minors' into adult mental health unit

Tuesday 10 August 2021

Minutes of a meeting of Jersey's top scientific advisers have revealed that the Health department has had to look after six young people in an adult mental health unit, because of a spike in demand for help.

Recently published STAC minutes detail the unprecedented strain that Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services are currently under, with more than 900 young people on its books, and a 20% increase in demand this year.

They also record that the pandemic has made it increasingly difficult to find UK placements for vulnerable young islanders.

A meeting of the Government’s scientific advisers on 21 June heard an update from Hospital Managing Director Rob Sainsbury on non-Covid areas that were a cause for concern for Health.

These were most notably, he said, the waiting times for a first appointment to see a specialist after a GP referral.

However, Mr Sainsbury went into more far detail about the pressures facing CAMHS.


Pictured: Hospital Managing Director Rob Sainsbury: "Adolescents and young people should not be admitted onto the Adult Mental Health Unit".

The minutes read: “[Mr Sainsbury said that] presently 906 young people made up the case load of CAMHS, which was a cause for concern. He went on to state that the pressures on the mental health of young people also presented in other ways.

“While the Adult Mental Health Unit caseload was static at the present time, the ‘most pressing indicator’ related to CAMHS, especially the acute admissions of patients who were below the age of eighteen years, into the unit.

“It was noted that three patients under the age of 18 had been admitted to the AMHU this year. In the past week, a further three young patients had also been admitted, increasing the total number of young persons’ mental health admissions to six.

“Mr Sainsbury stated that adolescents and young people should not be admitted onto the AMHU as a matter of policy, as that this did not reflect best practice.”

The minutes note that this view was endorsed by the ‘cell’ of advisers.

They continue: “Mr Sainsbury explained that this level of admission had not been seen in Jersey previously.

“The cell noted the explanation that [Health] was struggling to find appropriate off-Island placements for these young persons, hence the admissions to AMHU in Jersey.

“While it would ordinarily be the case that off-Island placements were utilised, the Covid-19 pandemic had severely and negatively impacted upon securing such placements.”

The 21 June meeting also received an update on the impact of the delta variant of the virus and the Island’s ‘safer travel’ policy. 

This is not the first time the excessive caseload for CAMHS has been acknowledged over the past year - last September, over half a million pounds was handed over as emergency funding to help clear its backlog.

In May, Chief Probation Officer Mike Cutland warned that Jersey had not "paid the full price of covid" in regards to children's mental health, noting that Probation had been "picking up children and young people with anxiety issues and health issues... that are probably linked to some of the anxiety caused by the lockdown."

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Posted by Chris Charman on
Our mental health care for young people is a disgrace, why is this?
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